P Street SW cycletrack testimony

My name is Payton Chung, and I live in ANC 6D. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. I support the current proposal for a cycle track on P Street SW, and was greatly disappointed in tonight’s resolution (attached).

The existing P St SW does not work well for pedestrians, bus riders, drivers, scooter riders, OR bicyclists of any age. It excludes all except drivers (when it’s not backed up with traffic) and only the most agile bicyclists. I would point out that 1/3 of Americans cannot drive, notably disabled and elderly people but also children, and that 40% of Southwest households do not have cars, whether because they cannot drive, cannot afford to drive, or simply choose other ways to get around — all of which are safer, cleaner, greener, quieter, and more space-efficient than driving, and therefore deserve not just encouragement but full-throated support.

Protected bike lanes are the definition of inclusive street use. They make it possible for everyone to use the street for bicycling or micromobility. I have seen children on scooters, elderly tricycle riders, and disabled motorized wheelchair riders in protected bike lanes.

This segment of the proposed Anacostia River Trail is a critical east-west connection that will link not only both sides of the river here in the District, but connects to an entire five-state region. Thousands of people, including residents like me but also employees and customers for local businesses, use these trails already, including many low-income DC residents in communities both west and east of the Anacostia River. Many more would use these trails if there were a safe and obvious connection across the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. I’ve personally talked to many people who have told me that they’d like to try bicycling across the area, but don’t see how they can do that today because the trail abruptly ends at my front door.

In a perfect world, the Army would allow a trail on their property; N St SW and O St SW would not have been privatized into culs-de-sac and would be available for public purposes, like bike lanes; and  there would be more reserved parking for people with disabilities. Alas, we don’t live in that perfect world, and DDOT’s proposal is the best balance available in this world to ensure that all of us are allowed a safe passage down the street.

A cycle track of this design is a proven safety strategy, which could potentially save lives and allow more residents to safely choose healthful and environmentally sound transportation choices. Implementing these strategies should within our public spaces should be matter of fact, not controversial, and should be able to be implemented quickly, rather than requiring months of reviews.

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